Once again, the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City (October 20-22, 2005) brought together many of the world’s top image makers. And as usual, there were scores of new announcements. After three days of walking the show floor and sitting in on a number of excellent seminars, I have a few observations to share. Following my comments, check out our comprehensive look at some products introduced at the show.
I am fond of inkjet papers and printers. Two of the most impresseive inkjet papers at the Expo were Premier Imaging Products’ Premier Art Luster Rag and Hahnemühle’s Photo Rag Satin. The papers are similar in appearance (like fiber-based heavy darkroom papers), but Luster Rag has a heavier base and is smoother than Photo Rag Satin, which has a visible paper texture like that found on many cotton inkjet papers. These are very special papers, and each should be seen to be believed.
Another paper, which is similar in some ways to the two just mentioned is a new paper from Crane & Co. named Silver Rag. It is quite different (shinier, with ink that is more “on-the-surface” in appearance) compared with the other two I mentioned.I believe it will look best with B&W work, though color inkjet output from an Epson Stylus Pro 4000 was extremely saturated and sharp. The company’s new Museo II and Museo Max printed samples had very good density and sharpness. Visit www.crane.com for more information.
Moab Paper showed a new range of Chinle folios, books, and archival boxes. The new Chinle digital edition book v2 series (below) now has two sizes: 8x8 and 12x12 inch. What really caught my eye was their new slipcase for the 12x12 book. It has a cutout in the center that gives it a very distinctive look and allows the books to be easily taken out of the cases. Kokopelli Studio Semi-Gloss, a double sided heavyweight paper, was also added to the Moab line, and can be used in their Chinle digital edition book v2. More info is available at www.moabpaper.com.
Apple in the Big Apple
Apple Computer’s booth and presentation of their new Aperture software was very impressive. Seeing 2-200+ images across two 30'' Apple Cinema Displays with a film-strip view across the bottom (with the screens either mirrored or in dual mode) was incredible. One of the most unique features of the program is the ability to batch adjust JPEG and TIFF files just like RAWs. This is essentially done by adjusting one and stamping the adjustment onto the balance. See the next page for more on Apple‘s announcements.
Peter Krogh, author of “The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management For Photographers,” gave a presentation at iView Multimedia’s booth. For more info, visit www.theDAMbook.com and www.iview-multimedia.com.
Color Management Corner
GretagMacbeth’s new scanning ruler and foldable backup board, for use with their Eye-One Pro Spectrophotometer (accelerated and previous version), is very nicely designed and appears to significantly cut down the time necessary to make a custom profile. Their automated iO table was also on display, and it was churning out 700+ patch charts in just a few minutes. See our product write up for more info.
Colorvision came out with an interesting new handheld Spectrocolorimeter called PrintFIX PRO. It requires a patch-by-patch measurement that takes about five minutes to read (125 patch target), depending on the speed of the operator. The company was also showing their hardware and software for calibrating projectors, which I’ve tested and achieved very good results with. Also see our product spotlight for more info.
HP’s Special Event
On Friday evening I attended a fantastic event sponsored by HP. Three photography legends (Elliott Erwitt, Douglas Kirkland, and Joel Meyerowitz) came together to tell some stories about their work and distinguished careers. In my opinion, there’s nothing like hearing the stories that are behind great photographic images. They also spoke a little about how they’ve been using HP’s printers, and Douglas Kirkland and his wife Françoise showed some stunning prints made on their Designjet 130, shot with a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II in China. Earlier that day, I also had an opportunity to meet with Joel Meyerowitz, who described his experiences with the HP Designjet 130. He showed me a dye-transfer print next to an HP130 print, output on HP’s Premium Plus Photo Satin paper, and the two had a very similar look and feel. The evening’s Emcee, Harald Johnson, of www.dpandi.com, did a fine job as well. For more HP printer info visit www.designjet.hp.com.
I also sat down with Evan Niilson of Digital Railroad (www.DigitalRailroad.com) during the show. The company makes an asset management/portfolio product that allows individuals or groups of people to create their own site for distributing their work. Many of them even use the service to function in a way very similar to a large photo agency. They’ve been adding features at a very fast pace, and one of the most impressive one allows customers to subscribe to an RSS feed, which means that your customers will know every time new work is uploaded without having to visit your DigitalRailroad Website.
At the show, a few of the talented folks at PixelGenius (www.pixelgenius.com), described their newest software offering to me: PhotoKit Color 2.0, an upgraded Photoshop Plug-in for special color effects and enhancements.
PhotoPlus Product Spotlight
Apple (www.apple.com/aperture) has been busy with its recent release of Aperture, the first all-in-one post-production tool for pro photographers. The new software provides a rapid RAW workflow that makes working with RAW images as easy as JPEG. Aperture features powerful compare and select tools, nondestructive image processing, color-managed printing, and custom Web and book publishing. The company also debuted the Power Mac G5 Quad, featuring quad-core processing with two 2.5 GHz dual-core PowerPC G5 processors. The desktop will head up the new Power Mac G5 desktop line. Upgrades to the PowerBook G4 line have also been made—offering higher-resolution displays and up to one hour more battery life on the 15- and 17-inch models.
GretagMacbeth (www.gretagmacbeth.com) announced that it is bundling its accelerated Eye-One Pro color management solutions with a new enhanced ruler system and carrying bag. The ruler glides easily over the test chart without touching the Eye-One device to eliminate the possibility of smearing or scratching. It is usable as a stand-alone component or together with the new portable backup board, which can be operated with one hand, and features a target clamp that holds substrates up to 3mm thick. The soft carrying case is specially designed to accommodate all Eye-One parts including the ruler, the backup board, Eye-One Beamer (GretagMacbeth’s projector calibration tool) and other accessories.
VisibleDust (www.visibledust.com) has developed a spinning device for its patented Sensor Brush in response to problems related to liquid in canned air and flight restrictions. The Sensor Brush SD eliminates the requirement for canned air by allowing you to spin the brush at high speeds to effectively “recharge” and clean your brush. Similarly, the company’s new Arctic Butterfly is an ideal travel companion for safely cleaning your digital camera’s sensor. While it does not replace a regular brush, which has more filaments and is better suited for heavier dusting, the Arctic Butterfly’s small size combined with self-charging and self-cleaning technology make it easy to use on the go. Both products come with a removable synthetic leather protector and require two “AAA” batteries (not included).